Tina K. Russell

June 10, 2008

On racism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 10:06 am

States Take New Tack on Illegal Immigration – Series – NYTimes.com
Three months after the local police inspected more than a dozen businesses searching for illegal immigrants using stolen Social Security numbers, this community in the Florida Panhandle has become more law-abiding, emptier and whiter.

Sheriff Wendell Hall of Santa Rosa County, who led the effort, said the arrests were for violations of state identity theft laws. But he also seemed proud to have found a way around rules allowing only the federal government to enforce immigration laws. In his office, the sheriff displayed a framed editorial cartoon that showed Daniel Boone admiring his arrest of at least 27 illegal workers.

His approach is increasingly common. Last month, 260 illegal immigrants in Iowa were sentenced to five months in prison for violations of federal identity theft laws.

At the same time, in the last year, local police departments from coast to coast have rounded up hundreds of immigrants for nonviolent, often minor, crimes, like fishing without a license in Georgia, with the end result being deportation.

In the immigrant community, fears now cloud the most basic routines. Many Hispanics said they avoided being seen or heard speaking Spanish in Wal-Mart, even if they live here legally. Others detailed their habit of meticulously checking their cars’ headlights, blinkers and registration to avoid being pulled over.

This is absolutely sick. There’s no question that crossing over the border into the States without a visa or passport is a crime. What I’m not sure of is when this became the worst crime in the world, a crime so bad that we can subvert every one of our laws, and our entire system of justice, to combat this. These are, generally, people who come here, work hard, and chase the American dream, and we treat them like dirt for it. Everyone involved in this should be deeply ashamed for how they’re tarnishing this country’s name.

(Might I remind you that this country was founded by illegal immigrants? Anyway…)

Oh, and, incidentally, identity theft panic is being used in Oregon, at least, to push zero-tolerance foreign worker laws. So, be wary when somebody asks you to sign a petition to help “identity theft victims.”

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